Surprisingly large flash game
Scenes take a while to load
To get the bad news out of the way first: Titanium Chef is an educational game - but for once you really shouldn't let that put you off, because this is a funny, beautifully made game which is great fun even if you're not really all that keen on learning about food groups. (Like me, as it happens).
Titanium Chef is set in a distant galaxy in 3015, eight years after an uprising led by the super-evil bad-guy overlord Rogulus (to quote his full title) was foiled by an alliance of good guys. With the threat of Rogulus out of the way, life in the galaxy has become a lot safer and possibly even a bit boring, which might help explain people's sudden enthusiasm for cooking competitions which are held in huge stadiums and have become more popular than sports. Everyone aspires to be a chef, including our hero, a little robot who's stuck in a dead-end job on the dullest planet in the entire galaxy. One day he gets his chance to upgrade to chef-bot status, so he eagerly sets about on his mission to travel to other planets, meet bizarre-looking creatures (and feed them all) and ultimately win the most prestigious cooking tournament of all. On his way, however, our bot hero soon discovers that Rogulus isn't *quite* as defeated as we thought he was, so that now he has to save the day as well as feed people - but we all know which of the two is going to be more difficult, right?
In terms of gameplay, Titanium Chef is essentially a mix between an adventure game and a puzzle game. Although you'll spend a lot of time exploring planets and talking to various aliens, you advance in the game through devising so-called "meal plans" for any hungry people you might come across on your way, which work like little puzzle games. The key to drawing up successful meal plans lies in keeping an eye how many units of each food group individual meals contain and matching that to a person's recommended daily intake according to their age and gender. Meal plans get trickier as you progress, but my one point of criticism here is that once you've got the hang of them, they become a bit repetitive. Some more variation in the meal plan tasks would have been nice.
Learning new meals is done through playing another little puzzle game - provided you've managed to find all the food cards necessary for those meals, that is. Food cards are hidden all over the place (mostly, but not exclusively, in crates) and tell you a bit more about individual ingredients. A lot of them are not purely informative but also quite funny, which is a nice little extra. Speaking of extras: if you *are* interested in the cooking aspect of the game, the website also contains recipes for all the meals featuring in the game - except for the water and air "meal", as you'll probably already know how to make that...
The graphics are lovely and one of the things which make Titanium Chef so entertaining: they're very clean and colourful, and each planet has its own characteristic look and colour scheme. Characters are well animated and the makers of the game have taken great care to come up with several distinct types of aliens (with very few exceptions, no two aliens of the same type look truly alike).
SOUND / MUSIC
Music isn't a very prominent part of the game, but it generally suits the mood and the sound effects do the job. The sound can be switched off, which can be handy if you have to revisit a certain location repeatedly.
Titanium Chef is a quirky adventure / puzzle game with beautiful graphics. I'd highly recommend it even if you're not normally a fan of educational games.
Although Titanium Chef is played via your browser, it's surprisingly epic for a flash game, and the makers have announced more updates for this year which will make it bigger still. But you're already likely to spend several hours exploring the different planets on the search for clues, food cards and hungry people, even if you already know where to go and who to talk to. As I've mentioned above, some of the puzzle tasks can get a little repetitive, but overall I still thoroughly enjoyed myself playing the game. Nor did I mind that the game was originally aimed at schoolchildren (it has won an award for this, actually) and consequently didn't teach me anything radically new about healthy eating - not that I really set out wanting to be taught that. The educational message is certainly there, but in a way which is fun and not too preachy, and it's not so obtrusive that it prevents you from enjoying the game. In fact, if all educational games were like this one, people wouldn't be shying away from them so much. So do give it a try, it's worth it.
Review by: AJ Raffles
Safe for all ages